The Larry Lipsitz Classic Performance Corvette Collection, Pt. 1

A beautiful collection of un-abused “old-school” performance Corvettes

Dateline: 9.12.22 – This story was first published in the September 2022 issue of Vette Vues as part of their ongoing “Reader’s Rides” series of stories.

First, a brief early Corvette history review

From 1956 to 1980 Corvette buyers had optional performance engines that were available. The 1953 and 1954 Corvettes only had the Blue Flame Six engine because that’s all Chevrolet had to offer. The small-block V8 was still being developed, so with help from three-time Indy 500 driver and engineer, Mauri Rose, the tried and true Stovebolt Six was given as many performance enhancements as it could take. Chevy’s old 115-horsepower engine was massaged up to 150-horsepower. Underwhelming in hindsight, but Rose had to work with what Chevrolet had.

In 1955 when the all-new small-block 265 engine was released for production, it was installed in all but seven of the 700 Corvettes built for 1955. Horsepower went from 150 to 195-horsepower, a nice bump. For 1956 the Corvette also got a total body makeover, but the car was on life support.

By then Zora Arkus-Duntov was guiding the Corvette and starting with the 1956 Corvette, there was a performance engine option. For an extra $172, customers could check off the 265/225 engine with two, four-barrel carbs and enjoy 225-horsepower, and a manual 3-speed manual transmission was standard.

1957 was the breakthrough year

The 265-small-block engine was enlarged to 283-cubic-inches, the 3-speed manual transmission was standard, and the Powerglide automatic was available for $188. But the big news was that in addition to the optional 245-or270-horsepower two four-barrel setup, there were four fuel injection options available with power from 250 or 283-horsepower at the cost of $484. Plus, a 4-speed manual transmission was available for $188. From this point forward, new Corvettes could be ordered from mild-to-wild. Continue reading “The Larry Lipsitz Classic Performance Corvette Collection, Pt. 1”